BIOCONTROLS: THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE
MustGrow is one of International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association’s (IBMA) 250+ global member companies. This organization is the voice for biocontrols and fosters a future of agriculture grounded in working with nature and all it has to offer.
The IBMA recently came out with a release that states “we need biological control for the agriculture transition.” What transition?
Well, if the future of agriculture is to be as bright and sustainable as governments, the public, and producers are pushing for, we need to address the gaps being created by green initiatives and mandates. Biocontrols are the answer.
What are Biocontrols?
To begin: biological + control = biocontrols.
Biocontrols are nature-derived technologies that are used to control pests, weeds, and diseases in agricultural crops, gardens, and forestry.
Biocontrols can be divided into four categories:
- Microbials are made of microorganisms including viruses, viroids, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, peptides, mycoplasmas, living and dead cells.
- Semiochemicals are emitted by plants, animals and other organisms as a mode of communication.
- Natural substances are made of one or more materials that come directly from nature including algae, animals, plants, minerals, fungi, bacteria, viruses, viroids, protozoans and more.
- Invertebrate biocontrol agents (or macrobials) are natural enemies that provide pest control through predation or parasitism. Insects, nematodes, and mites are included in this category.
Biocontrols are developed from any of these four categories to address a specific need.
The Progress of Biocontrols
There are many successful organizations, teams, and businesses with biocontrol technologies at varying stages of development—from research to trials to commercialization.
The aforementioned IBMA release mentions that 129 biological control substances will be submitted by 2028 in the EU. Innovators in the agriculture industry have tapped into this area with great potential to develop a safer, more sustainable future of global agriculture.
One key setback to the progress of biocontrols is the registration process. For example, the EU has many biocontrol technologies waiting for approval in the regulatory pipeline. The Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR) has the potential to bring legal standing to fast-tracking these approvals.
Demand from producers is clear and growing, and the biologicals industry has responded in kind. In order to make progress and reach initiative goals, the regulatory pipeline must become more streamlined.
MustGrow Biologics currently has three biocontrol technologies in varying stages of development:
- Preplant soil biofumigant is applied to the soil before crops are planted to treat soil borne pests and diseases.
- Bioherbicide technology is in development for potential use in organic acres, home and garden, or where synthetic herbicides have been banned.
- Postharvest food preservation is in development to ensure a grower’s hard work doesn’t go to waste while the food is waiting to be consumed.
We are developing these biocontrols from the natural defence mechanisms of the mustard seed, and global trials with our partners are showing positive results. The technologies are competitive on price and effectiveness, and outperform chemical options on safety and sustainability.
The more biocontrol technologies that are available to growers, the less they will need to rely on chemicals. In fact, the IBMA sees chemicals becoming a last resort if biocontrols are developed and approved more efficiently.
We are proud to be developing our biocontrols in Saskatchewan, representing the Canadian prairies and providing solutions for growers around the world. Check out our biocontrols and dive into our plans for soil amendment and biofertility if you’re interested in learning more about the biological movement.